John and Frank Collingwood became interested in Western Kansas in the early 1900's and began buying land. They soon became extensive landowners in the western half of Meade County, as well as surrounding counties. When the farming of wheat made evident the need for grain elevators, the Collingwoods built one in Plains. The first office of Collingwood Grain Company was built in 1903, and the first elevator in 1904-1905.
With the financial backing of the Collingwood brothers The Plains State Bank was established with Harry Collingwood, a nephew of John and Frank, as cashier, and John as president. The bank was chartered in July 7, 1906, with capital of $10,000.00. The first board of directors included: John A. Collingwood, D. Frank Collingwood, J.H. Collingwood, S.G. and Ella Demoret. The bank was a small frame building located just north of Collingwood Grain on the east side of Grand Avenue.
J.H. (Harry) Collingwood became the second president of the bank serving from 1918 to 1968. Harry saw the bank through much growth and many changes, including the erection of a new two-story brick building on the corner of Ohio Street and Grand Avenue in 1930. Harry's son, Jim Collingwood, was the bank's third president, but he died only three days after he was elected. Mary Collingwood Clawson was elected the bank's fourth president in 1970, a capacity she served in for four years. Mary's husband, Kirby Clawson, was the fifth president serving from July 1, 1974 to July 1, 1977.
The first person to serve as bank president outside the Collingwood family was Raymond Neu. He and his wife, Jolene, moved to Plains from Guymon, Oklahoma, when he was hired in 1977. Raymond served in that capacity until 2002. It was under Raymond's tenure the new and current bank building was erected at the north end of the block, at the intersection of Third Street and Grand Avenue in 1980, an impressive 9,800 square-foot building made of Kansas stone.
Upon Raymond Neu's retirement Clay W. Phillips was hired as president and served until his death in 2005. It was under Clay's leadership the bank on July 6, 2004, opened the Lakin branch. In February 2009, the bank purchased Commerce Bank on the North side of the highway in Lakin and moved our branch into that building.
The position of president is currently held by J. Kirk Friend who has been with The Plains State Bank since 1990. The current board of directors includes: Daniel Clawson, Chairman, Kirby B. Clawson, Mary Clawson, Ruby Hamm, David Clawson, J. Kirk Friend, Kenby Clawson, Brent Woods and Mitch Counce.
The last one hundred years has seen The Plains State Bank grow from total assets on June 30, 1907, the end of the first year's operations, of $60,524.13, to total assets of $59,345,181.62 in 2006.
In this era of mergers and acquisitions, a home town bank that has weathered the changes of time for over an entire century is a monument in itself to the pioneer spirit possessed by the Collingwood family who founded it so many years ago. The bank has grown with the town of Plains, supporting it not only financially, but being there for its citizens in good times and bad, becoming a cornerstone of this dynamic Southwest Kansas community.